Who is the greater player Agassi or Lendl?

Who is the greater player Agassi or Lendl?

  • Agassi

    Votes: 15 23.8%
  • Lendl

    Votes: 48 76.2%

  • Total voters
    63

zill

Hall of Fame
Both 8 grand slams each. Who was the greater player? And why.
 
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jrepac

Hall of Fame
Lendl...for reasons similar to the Connors vs. Agassi thread. Lendl, in his prime, also won most of his matches vs. young Andre. Though, Andre does have that W crown Ivan longed for....
 

skaj

Legend
They are pretty even. Lendl had a better serve, but Agassi had one of the best returns ever. Andre also had a better backhand, that's a significant advantage since they were both baseliners.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
They are pretty even. Lendl had a better serve, but Agassi had one of the best returns ever. Andre also had a better backhand, that's a significant advantage since they were both baseliners.
Lendl's serve was far better and a big weapon. But Lendl has many more weeks at #1, more titles. I think he's ahead of Andre by a nose. I tend to see Lendl and Connors tied, overall. If anything, Mac is the hard one to place. Better than Andre or not?
 

zill

Hall of Fame
Other thing is heard Andre didn't compete at AO for a few years. But did so well down under. Imagine what would have happened if did compete in more.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
Ivan Lendl keep improving himself physically and mentally during his career! He was the anti-culture, anti-hero tour tennis player in the 1970s-1980s. He was like the Terminator of his era!
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Ivan Lendl keep improving himself physically and mentally during his career! He was the anti-culture, anti-hero tour tennis player in the 1970s-1980s. He was like the Terminator of his era!
Lendl came a long way and was able to shake off that early label of being a 'choker'.
 
Lendl, and I don't think it's close.


Slams won from first to last:
Agassi: 8 of 36, GS win-loss record during that period 144-28 (83.7%). Failed to reach the last sixteen at 9 of those slams.
Lendl: 8 of 23, GS win-loss record during that period 130-16 (89.0%). Never failed to reach the last sixteen at any of those slams.

Weeks at number one:
Agassi: 101
Lendl: 270

Consecutive weeks at number one:
Agassi: 52
Lendl: 157

Year end #1:
Agassi: 1
Lendl: 4, including three in a row

Year-End Championships:
Agassi: 1, + 3 finals
Lendl: 5, including 3 in a row, from nine consecutive finals, plus two more WCT Final wins

Titles won:
Agassi: 60, including 17 "M1000-equivalent"
Lendl: 94, including 22 "M1000-equivalent"

Most titles in one year:
Agassi: 7
Lendl: 15, plus five more years with at least 8

Years with a 90% win-loss record:
Agassi: 0, his best year (1995) was 89%
Lendl: 5, including three in a row from '85-'87


What does Agassi have in his favour? The career slam, I guess. And if you want it you can count the Olympic Gold, even though Lendl never had the chance to win one. 1988 I suppose, but nobody gave a damn back then. Even in 1996 it had little cachet; the Olympic men's singles draw that year featured a grand total of three four players (Agassi, Ivanisevic, MaliVai Washington, and Bruguera) who'd ever reached a grand slam final. Seven of the top ten declined to play; no Sampras, no Chang, no Becker, no Kafelnikov, no Muster, no Krajicek, no Courier. People have been sniffing at the merits of Tokyo this past summer, but it was a damn sight more highly-regarded by the players than Atlanta was.

If you have no experience of either player then their numbers may look roughly similar on whatever spreadsheet you're using. If you're old enough to have seen them both? Lendl was a dominant champ in a way that was beyond Agassi. Andre's been lucky that his greatest achievements (career slam + Olympics) have retrospectively become more important than they were during his playing days, and I think his autobiography made today's fans more sympathetic to him. But regardless of that, I still say there's a lot of daylight between the two.
 
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Greater? Has to be Lendl, even with Agassi's Career Slam. Lendl simply blows Agassi away in time at #1, Year End #1s, tournament titles, consistency, dominance (Agassi never was a dominant player), Year End titles, and even matches him in longevity.

Better is more subjective. One could argue Agassi's peak level was higher, but then even his peak level was never good enough to dominate as we saw, while Lendl was atleast a semi dominant player and the clear #1 the entirity of 1985-1987, so 3 years solid, and consistently in contention for and usually #1 from 1985-1990, 6 years solid. One could attribute that to Agassi being in Sampras's era, but even when he had his late career blooming period from 99-2003 he could never dominate or consistently stay at #1. Even in the early 90s before Sampras's reign, and when he was playing well, he couldn't do it either. Maybe he was too old by the early 2000s to take advantage and become somewhat dominant, but fact is Lendl was able to dominate, and Agassi even during his good spells never could. I think Agassi was more naturally talented, but he couldnt translate that to success in many ways the same way Lendl could.
 

urban

Legend
In reality, Lendl has won more than 140 titles. The ATP didn't sanction many events then, but they were legit, rich and hard fought titles with great draws, like the Antwerp Golden Racket event. Agassi never had the dominance and overall consistency, that Lendl had. In the hth, until Lendls body fell apart since 1992, he was 6-0 over Agassi, by outhitting him from the baseline.
 

skaj

Legend
Lendl's serve was far better and a big weapon. But Lendl has many more weeks at #1, more titles. I think he's ahead of Andre by a nose. I tend to see Lendl and Connors tied, overall. If anything, Mac is the hard one to place. Better than Andre or not?
I was focusing on their games, not the titles. If we talk about their achievements, yes, Lendl was more dominant in the 80s than Agassi in his era, but Andre on the other hand has a completed career golden slam.

As for their on-court abilities:

serve Lendl
return Agassi
forehand =
backhand Agassi
net edge Lendl?
movement =
head edge Agassi

Not sure about McEnroe. For me, all those guys are in the same tier, just different styles of play.
 

zill

Hall of Fame
I was focusing on their games, not the titles. If we talk about their achievements, yes, Lendl was more dominant in the 80s than Agassi in his era, but Andre on the other hand has a completed career golden slam.

As for their on-court abilities:

serve Lendl
return Agassi
forehand =
backhand Agassi
net edge Lendl?
movement =
head edge Agassi

Not sure about McEnroe. For me, all those guys are in the same tier, just different styles of play.
Thought Lendl had a goat like forehand. Yet you put equal forehand for Agassi and Lendl???
 

skaj

Legend
Thought Lendl had a goat like forehand. Yet you put equal forehand for Agassi and Lendl???
If I had to pick one it would probably be Lendl's, but Agassi had a great forehand too. Same league, both had top10 all-time ATP forehands.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I was focusing on their games, not the titles. If we talk about their achievements, yes, Lendl was more dominant in the 80s than Agassi in his era, but Andre on the other hand has a completed career golden slam.

As for their on-court abilities:

serve Lendl
return Agassi
forehand =
backhand Agassi
net edge Lendl?
movement =
head edge Agassi

Not sure about McEnroe. For me, all those guys are in the same tier, just different styles of play.
I think way too much weight is placed on the Slams nowadays. Golden Slam is a great accomplishment, but there are many other factors to consider in evaluation of his career vs. Lendl. King Olaf's post of Lendl's stats vs. Andre's are pretty resounding....it's not even a matter of being ahead by a 'nose'....I take that back....it's a vast cavern of distance. It's a similar distance vs. Connors as well, who also has a pretty sweet GS collection of his own. I've always been a fan of Andre, but he really had peaks and valleys over his career
 

skaj

Legend
I think way too much weight is placed on the Slams nowadays. Golden Slam is a great accomplishment, but there are many other factors to consider in evaluation of his career vs. Lendl. King Olaf's post of Lendl's stats vs. Andre's are pretty resounding....it's not even a matter of being ahead by a 'nose'....I take that back....it's a vast cavern of distance. It's a similar distance vs. Connors as well, who also has a pretty sweet GS collection of his own. I've always been a fan of Andre, but he really had peaks and valleys over his career
Depends what your criterion is, of course.
 
Agassi because he has more major titles 9. I consider the Olympics a major. And he won Wimbledon. All the great champions have to win the biggest event(Wimbledon).
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
Lendl, and I don't think it's close.


Slams won from first to last:
Agassi: 8 of 36, GS win-loss record during that period 144-28 (83.7%). Failed to reach the last sixteen at 9 of those slams.
Lendl: 8 of 23, GS win-loss record during that period 130-16 (89.0%). Never failed to reach the last sixteen at any of those slams.

Weeks at number one:
Agassi: 101
Lendl: 270

Consecutive weeks at number one:
Agassi: 52
Lendl: 157

Year end #1:
Agassi: 1
Lendl: 4, including three in a row

Year-End Championships:
Agassi: 1, + 3 finals
Lendl: 5, including 3 in a row, from nine consecutive finals, plus two more WCT Final wins

Titles won:
Agassi: 60, including 17 "M1000-equivalent"
Lendl: 94, including 22 "M1000-equivalent"

Most titles in one year:
Agassi: 7
Lendl: 15, plus five more years with at least 8

Years with a 90% win-loss record:
Agassi: 0, his best year (1995) was 89%
Lendl: 5, including three in a row from '85-'87


What does Agassi have in his favour? The career slam, I guess. And if you want it you can count the Olympic Gold, even though Lendl never had the chance to win one. 1988 I suppose, but nobody gave a damn back then. Even in 1996 it had little cachet; the Olympic men's singles draw that year featured a grand total of three players (Agassi, R1 loser Ivanisevic, and unseeded silver-medallist Sergi Bruguera) who'd ever reached a grand slam final. Seven of the top ten declined to play; no Sampras, no Chang, no Becker, no Kafelnikov, no Muster, no Krajicek, no Courier. People have been sniffing at the merits of Tokyo this past summer, but it was a damn sight more highly-regarded by the players than Atlanta was.

If you have no experience of either player then their numbers may look roughly similar on whatever spreadsheet you're using. If you're old enough to have seen them both? Lendl was a dominant champ in a way that was beyond Agassi. Andre's been lucky that his greatest achievements (career slam + Olympics) have retrospectively become more important than they were during his playing days, and I think his autobiography made today's fans more sympathetic to him. But regardless of that, I still say there's a lot of daylight between the two.
Well said. It’s not even close.
 

Waves

Rookie
Looks objectively like Lendl with info in the above posts, but somehow I still feel like Agassi is in there…I guess because so much is put on winning all 4 gs’s and Lendl just couldn’t pull it off…and there’s the rub that’s always used against Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Mac, etc, etc.
 

GameSetR

Rookie
I don't so much care about 4 gs's. That could be the tie-breaker if all else were equal, but everything else is too far in Lendl's favor to have that one edge push Agassi over.

Ivan Lendl was more dominant at the game of tennis than Andre Agassi.
 

Ducky Lucky

New User
Agassi because he has more major titles 9. I consider the Olympics a major. And he won Wimbledon. All the great champions have to win the biggest event(Wimbledon).
All credit to Agassi for getting the gold at the Olympics but Lendl didn't really have a country to play for.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
When I saw this thread, my first thought was "duh, Lendl for sure."

Although Wilander was my favorite player in the 80s in an era filled with personalities and legends, Lendl was one of my early influences. I always admired his work ethic and Terminator-like dominance when he got on a roll. For stretches in the mid-80s, I think guys feared playing Ivan because he could make them look really bad. Plus, Lendl had a fiercely dark sense of humor and deadpan delivery in interviews.

All that said, if I had to pick which player's game and career that I'd rather have, for me personally, I'd pick Agassi's. The flashy forehand and backhand, the ability to win the career Grand Slam on all surfaces, the gold medal, the Davis Cup championships, and the longevity of winning titles from the 1980s to the 2000s, not to mention the marketing hype and fandom... I think I'd rather be Andre. Plus Andre married Brooke Shields and Steffi Graf, which puts him in GOAT territory for tennis spouses.
 

skaj

Legend
When I saw this thread, my first thought was "duh, Lendl for sure."

Although Wilander was my favorite player in the 80s in an era filled with personalities and legends, Lendl was one of my early influences. I always admired his work ethic and Terminator-like dominance when he got on a roll. For stretches in the mid-80s, I think guys feared playing Ivan because he could make them look really bad. Plus, Lendl had a fiercely dark sense of humor and deadpan delivery in interviews.

All that said, if I had to pick which player's game and career that I'd rather have, for me personally, I'd pick Agassi's. The flashy forehand and backhand, the ability to win the career Grand Slam on all surfaces, the gold medal, the Davis Cup championships, and the longevity of winning titles from the 1980s to the 2000s, not to mention the marketing hype and fandom... I think I'd rather be Andre. Plus Andre married Brooke Shields and Steffi Graf, which puts him in GOAT territory for tennis spouses.
In the era of Edberg, McEnroe, Navratilova, Borg, Noah, Mecir, Mandlikova, Sabatini, Cash, Graf... your favorite player was Wilander, so I am curious enough to ask - why?
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
In the era of Edberg, McEnroe, Navratilova, Borg, Noah, Mecir, Mandlikova, Sabatini, Cash, Graf... your favorite player was Wilander, so I am curious enough to ask - why?
I come from Swedish heritage on both sides of my family, and my parents were Bjorn Borg fans. I don't remember much of Borg, but the first professional tennis match I recall watching was the epic 6+ hour Davis Cup QF clash between 17 year old Wilander and John McEnroe in 1982 when I was 10 years old. My Mom commented to me at the time that Wilander was the next Borg and emphasized that Mats was only a few years older than me. Therefore, Wilander became one of my first tennis heroes. I appreciated how Mats was cool under pressure, mentally tough, and had the ability to out-strategize his opponents, many of which had superior power. He was also super fit and hustled hard after every ball - that was his game in an art form. Emulating that game style translated well for me in local level junior tennis, where hitting moonballs, slices, and being ultra consistent was a very successful strategy back then. I also thought it was cool that while everyone just thought of Mats as a boring baseliner, he had a nice doubles game, winning the 1986 Wimbledon title and making the US Open finals in doubles with his childhood friend Joakim Nystrom. Mats also won Slams on every surface (with the '83 and '84 Australian Opens being on grass) which was a rarity in the 80s.

BTW, I also liked Edberg a lot and chose to play with the Wilson Pro Staff in high school because of his endorsement when my local tennis store couldn't get their hands on any Rossignol F200 Carbons. As I mentioned in my other post, I thought Lendl was great and wanted to serve like him. Therefore, Mats wasn't the only guy I liked from the 80s, but he was still my favorite.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
Looks objectively like Lendl with info in the above posts, but somehow I still feel like Agassi is in there…I guess because so much is put on winning all 4 gs’s and Lendl just couldn’t pull it off…and there’s the rub that’s always used against Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Mac, etc, etc.
Really very overstated. I think you can make a case for Borg on the GOAT list and Sampras, despite not winning all 4. There is a certain amount of prestige attached to USO and W, no question. I think it speaks to surface diversity no question, but its not the be all and end all.
 

GameSetR

Rookie
I know matches are all about styles, but some things just have to be put into perspective. Here's a Lendl who was about 4 years past his prime absolutely destroying a peak Courier, at a point when Courier was owning Agassi:


Lendl was just a level above Agassi.
 

christo

Hall of Fame
Agassi because he has more major titles 9. I consider the Olympics a major. And he won Wimbledon. All the great champions have to win the biggest event(Wimbledon).
If the grass Agassi won on was the same as what Llendl had to contend with, well guess what ... Ivan would have dismantled Pat Cash
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
I don't even think Lendl would agree with this. He would give his left arm for Andre's Wimbledon trophy ;)
Well, sure, he might murder Agassi (or Connors) and snatch one away, but nonetheless, his career --- overall---is better than Andre's. The numbers are far and away in his favor, W or no W.
 

jrepac

Hall of Fame
If the grass Agassi won on was the same as what Llendl had to contend with, well guess what ... Ivan would have dismantled Pat Cash
I'm not sure if they started slowing it down in '92 with the thicker grass...I actually thought that came a little later. Anyone's memory better than mine?
 

GameSetR

Rookie
Agassi to me is either 10-11 all time. He can be at 10, or he can fall just shy of the top 10 behind Rosewall.

8-9 is interchangeable between Connors and Mac. Lendl is solidly 7th. Then 4-6 is whatever order you wanna put Laver, Borg, and Sampras. And then obviously, 1-3 is whatever order you feel the Big 3 should be.
 

DHClark76

New User
I have to start by admitting to being an Agassi fan. I started playing tennis in Jr. High during the Agassi/Sampras era and always respected Sampras for his mastery, but in my youth, like many other I kinda found him a bit wooden and boring. While there was never any point in disputing Sampras's superiority during his era, Agassi made tennis a litte more fun and accessible. And not just because of his image but, what energy and passion he could show... and what a returner... and what a relatable Gen X chip he had on his shoulder. Still...even as a fan of Agassi, it's hard for me not to classify him as perhaps the greatest also-ran of any era of tennis.

Lendl on the other hand... I remember watching him and even at 10 years old just being fascinated by this stoic dominator...he was ice cold, and just punished his opponents with his detached demeanor and unrelenting consistency. When the man was in the groove he was an utterly unstoppable machine...and he spent several years in that groove. But in that relatively unemotive, machine-like precision and consistency lied Lendl's biggest challenge in being beloved. Even before Sampras would become the poster boy for flat personality and style in the 90's, Lendl had already been even flatter and less emotive...but with a subtle menacing scowl. Which, incidentally, during the 80s, made Lendl come across (at least to one young American kid) as the stereotypical humorless, unhappy eastern bloc athlete during a time when there still was an eastern bloc and an active cold war. What's ironic, is that many of the stories of Lendl that have since emerged from other tour players is that he could be quite funny and personable... but the public never really saw that. Say what you will about stereotypes and the fan base unfairly (and somewhat unconsciously) projecting the prevailing political narratives of the day onto good ole Ivan... but again, even if somewhat unconscious or unintentional, it seems to have been a real phenomenon that hindered Lendl's ability to build an affectionate fanbase. Remember, Lendl took over the #1 spot from McEnroe in 1985, just a year after the movie Red Dawn came out and the same year Rocky IV came out. And even though Lendl was a defected Czech and not even a Soviet, he still seemed pretty darned eastern bloc in his demeanor, with all his stoicism and aloofness. What's worse is, he seemed to be carrying a chip on his shoulder despite having escaped to the west to live out his life excelling as a gifted athlete. Personally, I could never tell what came first...that is, I could never tell if the chip was the result of not feeling the respect from the fans that a lot of western players received --OR-- if he didn't get that respect from the fans because they already perceived him as having a chip and they didn't like that. Either way, with a certain portion of the fanbase in the west, he may as well have been the Ivan Drago of tennis at that time.

Becuse of all that, Lendl is often the forgotten champion of that era by more casual tennis fans. And after his reign at the top ended, his name simply didn't remain a household name that transcended the tennis world. On the other hand, Agassi was a player with a personality that was so reflective of his generation's style and the culture of the time that he managed to transcend the tennis world and remain a household name, despite actually only ever being second-best in his own generation. ironically, I think that's the only reason anyone might think that there's a legitimate debate to be had in even suggesting that there's any real merit to comparring Agassi Lendl as close enough to equal, to start parsing the details and nuances under a magnifying glass. But really, it's not even close enough that one needs regular glasses to see the difference. To Lendl's credit, in the last several years, he's finally started to crack jokes more openly and let a lighter personality show in the media. It's been good for his rep as it's given people a chance to see his more relatable human side; which, in turn, has helped remind a lot of people of his legacy. Which is good, his skills and accomplishments deserve study and to be more readily remembered, as easily as his contemporaries are remembered. Like I said... I'm an Agassi fan. But there's no doubt in my mind that Lendl was on a whole different level from Agassi.
 
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Well, sure, he might murder Agassi (or Connors) and snatch one away, but nonetheless, his career --- overall---is better than Andre's. The numbers are far and away in his favor, W or no W.
Disagree. No great, all time player can ever be regarded as one of the best without winning the most prestigious events in their sports. Thats why some of Andre's tennis cards sell for thousands. While Lendl's rookie cards sell for peanuts. Most everyone would rather have Andre's career than Lendl's. "Wimbledon champion" and "Gold medal" looks better on a tombstone than anything Lendl ever accomplished." That's a fact. Not an opinion.
 

Olli Jokinen

Semi-Pro
Disagree. No great, all time player can ever be regarded as one of the best without winning the most prestigious events in their sports. Thats why some of Andre's tennis cards sell for thousands. While Lendl's rookie cards sell for peanuts. Most everyone would rather have Andre's career than Lendl's. "Wimbledon champion" and "Gold medal" looks better on a tombstone than anything Lendl ever accomplished." That's a fact. Not an opinion.
Unless you're actually into tennis.
 

GameSetR

Rookie
Disagree. No great, all time player can ever be regarded as one of the best without winning the most prestigious events in their sports. Thats why some of Andre's tennis cards sell for thousands. While Lendl's rookie cards sell for peanuts. Most everyone would rather have Andre's career than Lendl's. "Wimbledon champion" and "Gold medal" looks better on a tombstone than anything Lendl ever accomplished." That's a fact. Not an opinion.
LOL. An Agassi fanboy has been identified.

Who cares what tennis casuals think?

Agassi was the biggest superstar in tennis in the 90s, and one of the biggest superstars in all of sport. Lendl never had adoration. That explains why their cards sell at different value.

Ivan Lendl was a significantly better and more dominant player.
 

DHClark76

New User
Disagree. No great, all time player can ever be regarded as one of the best without winning the most prestigious events in their sports.
He said… conviently forgetting that Sampras never won Roland Garros. Surely… you must remember Sampras? Agassi certainly does.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
Lendl's run from 1985-1989 is one of the greatest of all time. During that time frame, he won 70+ matches with a .900+ winning pct in 4 of those seasons. 1988 broke that streak. But that year, he had a fractured foot and shoulder surgery, along with playing the FO with a pulled pec muscle and playing Wimbledon with a pulled quad muscle. This year splattered by injuries was well-documented in a Sports Illustrated issue that I read decades ago. But, all seasons count.

Lendl averaged 70 wins a year and an amazing .910 winning percentage over that 5 year span. 70+ wins with a .900 winning pct is quite rare. Nadal did it once. Djoker did it twice. Federer did it 3 times. Also, his .910 winning pct over a 5 year span is the best pct since Borg in the 1970s(Federer was close with a .907 mark). But it's his wins over the top players that make this 5 year stint amazing.

His record vs the top 5 during that span, sorted by the most matches played against the opponent

Edberg: 7-4
Connors: 10-0
Wilander: 8-2
Becker 5-4
McEnroe: 5-3
Agassi: 3-0
Noah: 2-0
Mecir: 2-0
Chang: 1-0
Total: 43-13

His record vs 6+ slam winners while they were ranked in the top 5 was 38-13. And he had a winning record against all 6 of those 6+ slam winners.
 
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